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Spend & Save

Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'There's always the hotel room microwave'

In The Red

Finally, the wait is over. Tomorrow I fly to Berlin. This is enormously exciting. I've never been to Germany, let alone to the capital. In fact, as I mentioned last week, I haven't been on a city break for – oooh, a good five years. I had always written them off as far too expensive, packed full of extravagant accommodation, inflated food and drink bills, and unaffordable temptations.

And, in truth, they probably are. Despite my period of saving, I'm fully anticipating running out of funds before the last supper (though hopefully not before the second-to-last supper, since that is the one I'm most looking forward to; I've been on the restaurant's website and picked out my meal already). But we can live in hope can't we? For the first time in my life, I've actually planned each day's activities in advance, a task that took several long weekends spent at my laptop. And, in the name of frugality, I've ensured that a fair few of them are free: a free walking tour on day one, a visit to the nearby Turkenmarkt, a tour around a palace park.

Still, not everything comes so cheaply. Most of the days on my itinerary appear to be structured around wandering: a wander round this courtyard or that square; a wander round so-and-so-row of shops or whichever café district. Wandering itself may not cost anything, but it doesn't take a genius to work out what comes with it: window shopping, followed (usually immediately) by actual shopping; visits to cafes; visits to restaurants; visits to souvenir shops. I'm not the sort of traveller who wants to go out every night, dropping cash on drinks, taxis and nightclub entrance fees, but I am, I'm afraid, the sort who likes to eat.

Food, in fact, is my primary motivator for travelling, and probably my primary expense when doing so. Being a vegetarian, Berlin may not be the most logical of places to be visiting – though I hear the cake is wonderful. I've done my research, and – fingers crossed – eating won't add up to too much.

Still, I am hoping to dine out a bit. There's that second-to-last supper, which is the poshest place I've booked. There's the first night's supper at a local sausage house (goodness knows what I'll eat there. Sauerkraut? Potatoes? My meat-eating boyfriend will be pleased, though). And there's the midweek meal at an Alsatian bistro. Will it break the bank? If so, there's always the microwave in the room we're renting.